updated 11/7/2013 4:55:54 PM ET 2013-11-07T21:55:54

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL

November 6, 2013
Guest: Howard Dean, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jonathan Cohn


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Last night, voters delivered a message
that was bad for the Tea Party and good for Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the day after.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The election results are in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Messages sent.

KEN CUCCINELLI (R), VA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, you sent a
message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were voters really sending a message to the Tea
Party?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has the Tea Party lost some of its steam?

CUCCINELLI: Tonight, you sent a message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lost some of its influence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The surprise of the night, though -- the nail biter in
Virginia.

CUCCINELLI: Although I lost --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

CUCCINELLI: -- tonight, you sent a message to the president of the United
States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Virginia turned into a proxy fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a swing state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans had to work extra hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty-eight percent of voters blame Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blame Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the government shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shutdown was magnificent. Run beautifully. I`m so
proud of the Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Big questions remain, the impact of ongoing Obamacare
debate in yesterday`s election.

CUCCINELLI: Obamacare is a failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get ready for this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kathleen Sebelius is back on Capitol Hill. How long
can a hot seat stay hot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want to just give you a rough time.

CUCCINELLI: Obamacare is a failure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you look at what happened last night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans had to work extra hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were voters really sending a message?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Big questions remain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a lot to digest over this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Digesting result that could have significant impact
in the coming years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The civil war within the Republican Party continues to
rage.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: The Republican establishment is fighting back against the Tea
Party attempts to take over the Republican Party. And last night, the
Republican establishment won.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: I`ll tell you it is a shame what happened to
Ken Cuccinelli because he was betrayed by his own party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In Virginia, a weak Democratic candidate beat a much weaker and
crazy sounding Tea Party candidate, Ken Cuccinelli. And today, a
disappointed Rush Limbaugh let his audience in on the dirty little secret
of that campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: They didn`t want him to win. This is the dirty little secret.
I don`t think it`s even a secret now. Such is the animus towards the Tea
Party, in the Republican Party establishment. That they are -- I am
telling you, they`re perfectly comfortable with a Christie win and a
Cuccinelli loss because to them, that`s a Tea Party loss. Now, the
Republican establishment can run around and claim the Tea Party is an
albatross around their neck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The Republican establishment won the nomination for the
congressional seat in the solidly congressional district in Alabama. The
establishment backed candidate Bradley Byrne beat Tea Party candidate Dean
Young, 52 percent to 47 percent.

Dean Young who says he fears the end of a western Christian empire, refused
to call the winner to concede defeat and vowed not to support the
Republican in the general election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN YOUNG, ALABAMA TEAW PARTY CANDIDATE: The establishment Republicans
did everything they could, they poured all of their money into it, and they
barely, barely, beat you guys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Howard Dean, former Democratic National
Committee chairman and current DNC chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman
Schultz, author of the new book, "For the Next Generation: A Wake-Up Call
to Solving Our Nation`s Problems."

Chairwoman, how did you like the results last night?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Oh, I was pretty happy with
the results.

O`DONNELL: Who were you really rooting for in that first congressional
district in Alabama? Did you want the -- the more reasonable Republicans
to win?

SCHULTZ: What I`m rooting for we make sure we continue to make gains in
Alabama and we can elect Democrats. That`s what I`m rooting for.

But, look, at the end of the day, the civil war rages on within the
Republican Party. The Tea Party is clearly winning. They were able to
shut the government down. They brought us to the brink of economic
disaster. The tail is wagging the dog particularly in the House of
Representatives and the Senate.

That civil war is going to continue. It is really horribly damaged the
Republican brand. And this, you know, the rebranding that my counterpart
has desperately clawing at to try to make. Not working out so well if you
lack at results from last night, particularly in Virginia.

O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, the Republican establishment has finally found
both its voice and its tactics, pouring money into the races that they were
not really fighting in the past.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIR: Yes, it`s very interesting. If you look at
the voting record from the two candidates in Alabama, I bet you there is
not a dime`s worth of difference a year from now in terms of what would
happen to either one of them.

The real war is not the civil war of the Republican Party, the war on
women. I thought the extraordinary thing last night was the gender gap in
Virginia. Had it not been for women voters none of the three top
candidates, attorney general, lieutenant-governor, and Governor-elect
McAuliffe, it has a nice ring to it.

O`DONNELL: Yes, it does.

DEAN: Not any would have won. And that was women that did it. And you`re
going to see that all over the country. We`ve had it with this stuff.

I was in Kansas a couple days ago. Women were standing up for their right
to make up their mind and not have a whole group of people, which is the
right wing of the Republican Party, essentially put them back in the
kitchen where they were 150 years ago. It`s just unbelievable.

O`DONNELL: What are the real differences between loser Ken Cuccinelli and
winner Chris Christie on issues that are important to women? I don`t mean
the crazy stuff that is now -- the whole question of anti-sodomy laws in
Virginia which the Supreme Court took care of. Even, doesn`t matter what
Cuccinelli thinks of that. In practical governing terms, what`s the
difference between Cuccinelli and Christie on the issues?

SCHULTZ: Rally, nothing. If you drill down into Chris Christie`s victory.
It was a victory for Chris Christie. That`s pretty much it.

I mean, he`s got an outside personality. There`s no question about that.
People are grateful to him and I`m from a state where we understand
gratefulness after a governor has, you know, come in and, helped, their
people after a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy was.

But look at the results, the rest of the state. The state senate, despite
hundreds -- millions of dollars being poured in. We didn`t lose a single
seat in the state senate. Chris Christie vetoed the minimum wage, and the
voters passed it in New Jersey last night.

You have a record that he really can`t brag about, above average
unemployment, the highest foreclosure rate in the country. In terms of
issues important to women, and middle-class, working families, Chris
Christie is wrong on every single one of the issues.

O`DONNELL: The mayor of Purcellville, Virginia, Bob Lazaro, who is a
Republican, endorsed Terry McAuliffe. He said the party has lost its
ability to include the broader spectrum of Republicans. He said, "Our
party in many respects in Virginia has been taken over by a side show. The
party of the Reagan`s big tent has been reduced by some to a dunce cap. We
can do better than that."

DEAN: Interesting how, sure I will get hate tweets saying this. There is
a similarity --

O`DONNELL: What`s a hate tweet? I have never gotten one of those.

DEAN: So, so -- they interestingly made the Republicans on the right are
making the mistake that the Islamic Brotherhood made in Egypt. They get
in. And they only focus on social issues. They don`t do anything about
jobs.

The reason that Morsi went down ultimately is because the public wanted
jobs. All he was talking about was repression for religious reasons. All
these guys are talking about repression for whatever their reason is. And
they don`t talk about jobs. In fact, they didn`t deliver jobs.

So I think one of the messages here. Just saw on Rachel`s show, an
interview with the person I hope will be the next governor of Wisconsin,
she`s going to focus on jobs. And that`s what the Republicans keep talking
about. They never deliver on jobs. In fact, things get worse in the
Republican historically, economically, than they do under Democrats.
That`s a fact.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead.

SCHULTZ: The governor is absolutely right. Last night`s election in
Virginia was the result of Terry McAuliffe focusing on what people care
about -- creating jobs, investing in education, helping people join the
ranks of the middle-class. Ken Cuccinelli, as a disciple of the Tea Party
leadership obsessively focused on government invasiveness in women`s health
care.

And, in addition to that, you got to take a look at the turnout of African-
Americans in Virginia, because the pundits predicted, Tea Party certainly
hoped for a much lower turnout of African-Americans and they thought we
weren`t going to be able to replicate the ground game that in 2012, and in
2008, and we did. Twenty percent of the electorate, last night, yesterday
in Virginia was African-American.

Terry McAuliffe elected governor on the shoulders of Virginia`s women and
African-American voters.

O`DONNELL: President Obama went there to drive out the vote?

DEAN: He did. It was very interesting. One of things that is
disappointing, the legislature. We had seven seats that were within 100 or
so, 200 votes. And we may turn some of those around.

People don`t know this. But about 13,000 provisional ballots were cast
last night because some of the voter laws make it harder to vote. But they
give you an opportunity to cast the provisional ballot, but you`ve got to
show up in order for that vote to get counted, and show the ID that you
didn`t have, and show the whatever it is.

One of the things I hope listeners and watchers on your show will do is, if
you know some body in Virginia who cast the provisional ballot, get them to
go back and validate it. For example, Jennifer Boisco (ph) in northern
Virginia, lost to a long term incumbent by 66 votes. That could be
overturned if all the provisional ballots get counted.

O`DONNELL: Ken Cuccinelli mentioned, what he calls, of course, Obamacare
in his concession speech last night. Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUCCINELLI: We said this race was a referendum on Obamacare. And although
I lost, tonight, you sent ape message to the president of the United States
that you believe that Virginia understands that Obamacare and that you want
to be in charge of your health care and not the government.

Despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million, this race came down
to the wire because of Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Exit polls in a race that the Democrat won, show that 46
percent of the Virginia voters support the Affordable Care Act. With 53
percent saying they oppose. With that electorate, the Democrat still won
the governorship.

SCHULTZ: That`s right. Ken Cuccinelli made this a referendum towards the
end of the race on Obamacare, and Terry McAuliffe was elected governor
yesterday. And the end of the day, look at the way the numbers have
shifted in the Affordable Care Act`s approval. Particularly since the
shutdown that was forced by the Tea Party. They tried to hold the economy
hostage. Use the Affordable Care Act numbers improved among voters because
the more they understand, the more they`re getting the benefits, the better
life they like it.

DEAN: I think the big thing with Affordable Care Act is people are well
beyond. Let`s repeal it, except for the Tea Party. What they want is to,
OK, let`s, going to be problems here. We have seen the problems with the
website. Make it work. Because there are real people out there now seeing
that they can get health care much cheaper and better under this --

O`DONNELL: We are going to cover later in the show, Kathleen Sebelius`
testimony today where she reported a lot of improvement, significant
improvements in the Web site.

Howard Dean and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, thank you both for
joining me tonight.

Coming up, time for Democrats to start planning how to beat Chris Christie
and Republicans are planning the very same thing. John Heilemann and Sam
Stein will join me.

And Rand Paul is back in the rewrite. Rand Paul is famously opposed to
government funding of just about everything. But he remains strongly in
favor of government funded plagiarism. He is refusing to fire the
plagiarists on his Senate staff whose salaries are, of course, paid by your
tax dollars.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: As Howard Dean just mentioned, they`re still counting
provisional votes in Virginia. And it is still too close to call in the
race for attorney general of Virginia. According to the Web site of the
state board of elections as of 10:00 p.m., Republican State Senator Mark
Obenshain leading Democratic State Senator Mark Herring by 681 votes out of
more than 2 million cast.

Virginia officials are now examining provisional ballots before announcing
an official result. The loser can request a recount on November 25th. If
the Democrat wins this would be the first time Democrats control all five
major statewide elective offices in Virginia since 1970.

Up next, the Christie file. How the Democrats will campaign against Chris
Christie if he becomes the next Republican nominee for president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: 2016 is Hillary`s time. Run, Hillary,
run. If you run, you`ll win and we`ll all win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was New York Senator Chuck Schumer this weekend in Iowa.

And this was Chris Christie today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Someone asks you if you`re going to
be a candidate for president of the United States and you`re in politics --
you`re in politics, stop annoying me and asking me if I am going to be
leader of the free world. Anybody who says that`s lying, lying -- it`s not
annoying.

You know, it`s -- it`s an indication from at least a person who asked the
question that they think you are doing well enough that you might be worthy
of consideration for the most important leadership job in this country. If
you`re burdened by that, get out of the business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In exit polls, New Jersey voters said very clearly that they
would choose Hillary Clinton over Chris Christie for president. But some
Republicans are hoping that voters never get that choice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW: I don`t know what the big appeal of
Christie, just based on the record is. It is hardly an economic boom or
turn around in the state of New Jersey. I can tell you that.

LIMBAUGH: And now, you`ve got so many people celebrating the Christie win
as the road to the future. What does that tell you? You know, for one,
I`m tired of the media picking the candidate for us. They`re trying to do
it here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The anti-Christie wing, with radio microphones is already
formulating their talking points. But Christie is doing everything he can
to prepare for presidential campaign. Chris Christie`s new role as chair
of the Republican Governors Association will allow him to get a head start
in key primary states.

As "The New York Times" reports, Christie said he would be appearing
frequently in places like Ohio, Michigan, and Florida, all states with
Republican governors up for re-election next year. He has also told South
Carolina Republican that he wants to help Senator Lindsey Graham, who is
facing a conservative primary challenge next year.

And today, the Republican Party in New Hampshire, the nation`s first
primary state of course, announced that it is hiring Chris Christie`s
former regional political director as New Hampshire`s new Republican Party
executive director.

Joining me now: MSNBC analyst John Heilemann, national affairs editor for
"New York" magazine, and author of "Double Down", the most publicized book
in American history.

And also joining me, "The Huffington Post`s" Sam Stein.

John Heilemann, in this book, there is plenty of material about the vetting
of Chris Christie as a possible vice presidential candidate. And we`re
going to be seeing a lot of that material as the he moves into a
presidential campaign.

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know there is a lot stuff in
the Christie record, Governor Christie has been asked about this recently,
partly because of the the publication of the book. He says it`s all out
there.

O`DONNELL: Examples, what are we talking about?

HEILEMANN: You know, there`s -- a great example of something that`s in the
public record but that I bet 95 percent of the national voters, the
national media, national political class don`t know, for period of time,
Chris Christie was when he was a lobbyist. Many people didn`t know he was
a lobbyist. That he lobbied for the Securities Industry Association of
America, to try off to keep financial fraud crimes out of the New Jersey
state consumer protection law.

At the time when he was lobbying for the SIA, its chairman was Bernie
Madoff. Now, for the Romney vetters, they liked at that and said a 30-
second ad waiting to happen. Bernie Madoff`s lobbyist paired with Mitt
Romney. That`s a problem, right?

That`s in public record. It`s not a secret. But it`s something --

O`DONNELL: I am learning it for the first time right now.

HEILEMANN: It`s something most people in national politics don`t know, and
what it goes to is that on question, his brother has a settlement with the
SEC in a civil matter there are controversies around. There are issues
about his spending as a U.S. attorney. He was investigated by the
Department of Justice inspector general and was slapped pretty hard for
exceeding spending limits that he was supposed to abide by.

There`s a lot of things. Again, these are matters of public record.

And then there`s a series of things that the Romney people asked him about
that he was not very forthcoming about to them, on his health, his other
lobbying clients, his household help. There are a variety of issues where
they asked him for stuff, he didn`t give it to them. The head vetter, Beth
Mayer, said, if he is not giving us the information, we have to assume the
answers are bad.

All of that stuff -- is there any smoking gun? Maybe not. But Mitt
Romney`s attitude was the totality of that, of the questions, unanswered
questions and unexploded landmines was way too much for him to take on. He
looked at this vetting report which we quote from the book, and that day
pulled the plug on the Christie the vice presidential possibility.

All I`ll say in total about this is that Chris Christie has gotten a lot of
attention from the national press for a governor. But he`s got nothing
like the kind of attention you get when you are a national candidate. And
Romney`s people said to him, you know, a lot has been out there from the
2009 governor`s race. Romney said, running for governor is not being
vetted, being a vice presidential candidate, being a presidential
candidate, that`s really when you get vetted.

Chris Christie has not yet to this moment had to withstand that. He soon
will.

O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, there`s a lot of 30-second commercials in the stuff
John Heilemann is talking about. Attack ad.

What about on the policy front if -- first of all, talk about Chris
Christie what he would expect to confront as difficulties within a
Republican primary race on policy? And then, how would it work for him in
the general election against Hillary Clinton?

SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, in the primary front, I think the
hurdles are immense you. You can start with Obamacare. Chris Christie as
governor accepted Medicaid expansion. That obviously is not going to play
well with the Republican primary voters.

He has spoken on favor of the assault weapons ban. He is receptive off to
immigration reform. Things like those.

But primarily, I think the main hurdle he will have. You can correct me if
you think I am wrong, is that he`s been cooperative with Barack Obama, and
that primarily took place after the touchdown of Hurricane Sandy. I think
for a lot of conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, who I should mention,
he says the media shouldn`t pick candidates. He is a member of the media.

For Rush Limbaugh and others, that was really a problem. The fact that he
was there with President Obama up to the election date in the aftermath of
Hurricane Sandy. You know, that is a hurdle that will be immense for him
when he goes through the Republican primary process.

O`DONNELL: And say, presume, Hillary Clinton campaign as the Democratic
nominee as against possibly a Christie nominee. What would that look like?
What would the him ear campaign be pointing out about Christie?

STEIN: Huh, well, what are we three years ahead of ourselves here.

O`DONNELL: It`s the way you do things, Sam. You got to be ready to do it.

STEIN: I got to get with the program.

You know, I think for starters, New Jersey`s economic situation is not
something to write home about. He`s been incredibly tough on teachers and
teacher unions. He is brash and abrasive. That`s something that he might
hold up as a positive, but it`s certainly something that can be used
against him in a political setting.

But let`s make no mistake about it. If you talk to any sane Democratic
strategist right now, they would say, very, they would be, forthcoming
about it. They think Chris Christie is the strongest candidate they would
have to go against in a general election, whether it`s Hillary or any one
else.

O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, thank you for joining us.

John Heilemann, stick around, because there`s much more gold in here we
will talk about. Just amazing stuff, including what was happening
backstage at the Republican National Convention when Clint Eastwood was on
stage.

And, Rand Paul is, of course, back in the rewrite tonight. Rachel has
developed a theory that Rand Paul might not know what plagiarism is. And
this is not the first time and it will not be the last time that we have to
consider the question: is Rand Paul lying? Or is he just not quite, you
know, bright enough to understand the issue?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: So, any way, we are going to have -- we`re going to
have a little chat about that. And then, I -- I just wondered, all of
these promises. And then I wondered about -- you know when, when, when the
-- what? What do you want me to tell Romney? I can`t tell him to do that.
He can`t do that to himself.

You are absolutely crazy. You are getting as bad as Biden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And it got much worse from there.

John Heilemann, this book which I love, has the story that we were
wondering abut that night. It has the story of what was happening
backstage while that was happening on stage at the Republican convention.

HEILEMANN: It does. It`s one of the stories. Try to do this throughout
the book. Take big public moments. Tell you what was going on behind the
scenes.

And in this case, you know, you had Clint Eastwood hadn`t been allowed to
go on stage, Hollywood star. They brought him out. Mitt Romney had met a
few weeks earlier out in California --

O`DONNELL: Fell in love.

HEILEMANN: And star struck. Politicians say, hey, you know, we didn`t
have many Hollywood guys on our side. Let`s get Clint Eastwood to come.

O`DONNELL: Right.

HEILEMANN: They kept trying to get Eastwood to tell them what he wanted to
say. Eastwood didn`t know what he wanted to say and kind of refused. They
didn`t feel like they could stand up to him. They though well he is Clint
Eastwood. He will be fine.

He ends up hearing the Neil Diamond song, I am I said in which the lyrics
goes no one heard it all, not even a chair. And he is standing back there
before his speech watching everyone sing the praises of Romney. And being
a Hollywood star says, I don`t want say what everyone else is saying. I
don`t want to just talk about how great Mitt Romney is. I want to do
something different.

He summons a chair. They put it out there and he goes out and does this
riff, partly inspired by Neil Diamond that`s like partly in (INAUDIBLE),
Bob Newhart at dines theater and the Romney team which later would say, it
was always so great. it was no problem. We didn`t have any problems.
They were losing their minds. Governor Romney behind the state just says
to stupid basher, Stewart Stevens, this is weird, did you guys practice
this? And Stevens is trying to stay cool because Romney about to give a
speech. Doesn`t want to upset him. He says no, no, it`s fine. But in
fact, Stewart Stevens head is exploding. He leaves the room and goes next
door and vomits. The rest of the Romney team out of the hall --.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: He doesn`t just vomit, OK? According to
"Double Down," on page 375, he attempted to calm down. He keeps going, he
weeps. It says, Stewart Stevens is throwing things, howling, cursing and
weeping. Until he dropped his head into his hands. That is life backstage
at the Republican convention with Clint Eastwood on stage.

HEILEMANN: Just before Mitt Romney`s big speech. And you know, Stewart
Stevens was the primary author of the speech that Romney was about to give.
And then, he realized this is the biggest moment, the biggest moment that
you, under your control for the rest of the general election. And for some
people, very, like some of the people in the Romney campaign. Ed Gillespie
and other senior adviser, he said this is nuts. You can`t let this guy --
you can`t let anybody walk on stage without a script.

But he was overruled and they allowed him to do the thing. The fear that
Stevens is that all of those emotional reactions was about which was that
this thing would over overshadow Romney speech. And the press coverage the
next day wouldn`t be about Romney`s big speech at the Republican
convention, it would be all about Clint Eastwood`s bizarre performance. It
all turned out to be true. The next day when no one talked about Romney`s
speech and everyone talked instead of Clint Eastwood.

O`DONNELL: It couldn`t gone worse.

There is tremendous drama here on the Obama side of the campaign,
especially when we get to the debate stage. And President Obama does not
turn in the performance in the first debate. There are people were
expecting. It becomes fascinating as you approach the second debate in the
way they change the debate prep for the second debate. And the president
gets to the point where he doesn`t think he can do it.

HEILEMANN: Yes, it is an amazing thing. One of the most fascinating
things. One of the most incredible things that Mark and I been involved in
the reporting in politics, that the president is -- his team had been
basically telling Democrats who were panicked, everything will fine. We
will do fine on the second debate.

David Plouffe made the research and then saying basically like we are not
losing much vote share. It get a little tighter now, but we are still OK.
But they all knew that he had to perform well in the second debate in
Hamster (ph). They changed up his debate prep. And then in, 48 hours
before the debate, the president suffers an epic collapse in one of his
mock debates with John Kerry, worse in Denver, worse than anything that
ever seen before. He had been making well progress, suddenly he regresses.
And David Plouffe is saying to his colleagues if he gives that performance
in Hamster (ph), we are going to lose the whole election.

They staged with him an intervention. That`s what they called it. The
next morning. David Axelrod and David Plouffe, Jack Lew and (INAUDIBLE)
and the debate coach, just four people. Normally, they are almost filled
with people. President walks in. It is just the guys. He says hey, where
is everybody?

O`DONNELL: It is intervention time?

HEILEMANN: And they say to him, Mr. President, you know, we have got to
have a more radical, serious, thorough ongoing discussion what is going on
here because you are not improving enough. And if you do what you did last
night, we could win the election?

O`DONNELL: And he opened up to them about his psychological processes and
what happens to him when he hears people say certain things, the way he
feels he has to explain things. That`s what puts him in the slow patches.

HEILEMANN: His lawyer-ly mind.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

HEILEMANN: And he says, you know, he basically says to them. We quote him
saying, "I am not wired in the way that this kind of event requires. The
theatricality of politics, Barack Obama is always been kind of averse to
that, at this moment, it, he.

O`DONNELL: Paralyzed by it.

Greatest theatrical performers in politics we ever had doesn`t like that
part of it. And when he is confronted in this crucial moment, it comes
down to the point where he says to them, you know, I am wired in a
different way than this event requires. He then pause in the book and says
I just don`t know if I can do this. This is the guy who is better at it
than anybody else.

HEILEMANN: And I will tell you. All four of those guys in the room when
he said that, they all basically had the same thought which was we are in
uncharted territory here. It is three weeks from Election Day. It is 36
hours now from the most crucial debate he is going to have. And we aren`t
having a conversation about tactics and strategy, we are having the
extensional crisis in which the president is deeply doubting his own
performance skills. And in some sense, even the agenda that he is running
on. He says, I mean, you guys keep telling me talk about my plans for the
future. We haven`t really run on that. I didn`t hatch that much to say.

O`DONNELL: One of them, Ron Klein, who is very experienced in debate prep
was glad that they reached this moment because he felt overconfidence was
the worst thing for president Obama going in. And this was a better
posture for him.

HEILEMANN: And that previously, Obama had just been kept saying, I doubt I
will do better. I will do better. I will do better. This wasn`t an
acknowledgement that he had to change in a fundamental way. And over the
course that next 36 hours, they changed his debate prep again. And the
president finally was able to kind of get across the psychic chasm and
perform as they put it, Rob Klein`s, famous phrase no, Fast and hammy. You
got to speed up and you got to be a performer. President Obama embraced
that and was able to win the second debate.

O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, co-author of "Double Down," my very favorite
book that I`m holding in my hand right now. Of all the books that I have
on the set right now and my favorite book ever.

HEILEMANN: That`s enough for us. Enough for us.

O`DONNELL: I love this book. And yes you can use, I love this book,
Lawrence O`Donnell on the next full page in "The New York Times."

Coming up in the "rewrite."

HEILEMANN: No royalty thousands.

O`DONNELL: A journalism professor at Rand Paul`s college has pronounced
Ron Paul, guilty of plagiarism.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Today the White House released this photo of President Obama in
Boston last week with Celtics legend Bill Russell. The president got to
see Boston`s new statue of Bill Russell a couple days before the rest of us
did. The statue was actually President Obama`s idea, something that he
suggested 2 1/2 years ago at the White House when he presented Bill Russell
the presidential medal of freedom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think we have been sloppy and we are going
to try to be much more precise in the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Rand Paul yesterday desperately trying to rewrite his
plagiarism scandal into a hacks and haters scandal. Hacks and haters or
what Rand Paul calls the people who exposed his plagiarism including our
own Rachel Maddow who got the whoa thing started last Monday this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: Rand Paul`s speech
today on (INAUDIBLE) was totally ripped off of Wikipedia. This is weird
right? He is just up there reading Wikipedia off the teleprompter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Rachel was followed up by Buzzfeed`s (INAUDIBLE), adding other
items to the Rand Paul plagiarism file including other speeches where Rand
Paul`s speech writers listed word for word, lifted word for word from
Wikipedia. And reports showing entire sections of a "the Washington Times"
op-ed writ be in Rand Paul were lifted word for word from an article
written just one week earlier. Yesterday, "the Washington Times" announced
the paper and Rand Paul mutually agreed to end his weekly column.

Buzzfeed also found evidence that three pages of Rand Paul`s last book were
directly lifted from conservative think-tank`s documents. And another
entire section of the same book was lifted nearly word for word from a
Forbes article. Last week, Rachel floated the theory that Rand Paul maybe
doesn`t know what plagiarism is.

Now, this is not the first or last time that we will be faced with this
question. Is Rand Paul lying? Or is he just not quite, you know, smart
enough off to understand the issue. And that we will probably always be
evidence for each of those possibilities when it comes to Rand Paul.

Today, Rand Paul said this about the hacks and haters who have exposed his
trafficking in journalism. If I were their journalism teacher in college,
I would fail them. And here is what a journalism teacher at Rand Paul`s
College said today about Rand Paul`s plagiarism.

Robert Darden, associate professor at the Bailer University`s journalism
public relations and new media school in Wacko, Texas said had one of my
journalism students made the same mistakes I would fail them for each
individual assignment and refer the case to the appropriate university
office that deals with honor code violations.

Rand Paul was a graduate student at Duke University whose plagiarism policy
includes this. Ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty is no
excuse for actions which violate the integrity of the community.

Duke University cares a lot about the integrity of the community. But Duke
failed miserably in trying to teach Rand Paul to respect the integrity of
the community. The senator recent offered this reminiscence of his days at
Duke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: I never, ever cheated. I don`t condone cheating. But I would
sometimes spread misinformation. So, and this is a great tactic.
Misinformation can beep very important. So, one time we are in the library
and we are studying for a path test. And so, we just started spreading a
rumor, that we knew it was on the test. It was definitely all about liver.
Everything, this is going to be a vast majority of question all about
liver. So, tried to trick all of our competing students into over studying
for the liver, not studying for the kidney and every other --. But, that`s
my advice. Misinformation works.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Misinformation works. That was Rand Paul`s contribution to the
integrity of the community at Duke. Misinformation works could maybe,
almost, kind of, be a fun little story, coming from someone whose integrity
was otherwise beyond Republic approach. But coming from a known trafficker
in plagiarism, it seems to revealed more about Rand Paul that he intends.
And I say trafficker in plagiarism because it remains unclear to me whether
Rand Paul actually knows the definition of plagiarism which most of us have
known since at least high school.

But Rand Paul`s staff is certainly acting as if they know what plagiarism
is. Buzzfeed has reported that the transcript of one speech of Rand Paul`s
on Rand Paul`s Senate Web site has been updated to include footnotes that
other speech transcripts hatch been completely scrubbed from his Web site.
And that in future additions of Rand Paul any latest book, his publisher
will add attribution to the several pages of material that were lifted from
other sources.

But Senator Paul has the not made the most important change that he should
be making after getting caught with plagiarism in his books and
teleprompters. Remember that Rand Paul is a senator which means he did not
write the book, he published last year that include plagiarism. He did not
write the speeches he has been giving, that include plagiarized passages.
He has the writers for those things.

Rand Paul told "The New York Times," how his writing gets done. Things are
done quickly and in a hurry and sometimes I get some things sent to me.
While I`m giving a speech, I`m looking down at my phone, saying read this
for approval in 20 minutes. I literally am writing around in a car, in
between things trying to figure out if I can approve it.

OK. That is the way all senators get their writing done. Their staffs
write stuff and the senators approve it. And the senators are always
riding around in cars approving speeches on the fly. But Rand Paul is the
only one of our hundred senators who stand accused and convicted of
plagiarism tonight because Rand Paul employs pathetic plagiarists to write
his speeches, articles and books. Rand Paul doesn`t actually employ them,
though, he just hires them. They`re paid by the federal government which
means you are paying the salaries of Rand Paul`s plagiarists.

The speeches that he gives as a United States senator are written at public
expense by speech writers on Rand Paul`s United States Senate payroll.
This is tax funded plagiarism we`re talking about here. And no one, no one
has been fired for it.

Rand Paul has some very lazy plagiarists on the Senate payroll and Rand
Paul himself is too lazy or too ignorant or too disrespectful about the use
of our tax dollars to do anything about them. He was very reluctant to
fire the ghost writer of one of his earlier books on the Senate payroll
earlier this year, a man on record as strongly supporting the assassination
of president Abraham Lincoln. He was allowed to resign with honor from the
rand Paul world.

Rand Paul told "the New York Time" that there will be quote, "a
restructuring," end of quote in his office to prevent future plagiarism.
But he insisted to "The New York Times" that no staff members would be
fired. And so, Rand Paul its harboring the laziest, stupidest plagiarists
in Senate history and he is making you pay the plagiarists salaries.

Rand Paul who hates government funded anything is completely cool with
government funded plagiarism.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The Affordable Care Act and Kathleen Sebelius actually had a
good day in a Senate hearing today. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing drives me more crazy
than the fact that, right now, there is great insurance to be had out
there, choice and competition, where people can save money for a better
product, except, too many folks haven`t been able to get through the Web
site. Nothing is going to stop us from getting this done. Because, we`re
on the right side of history. It is the right thing to do. The right
thing to do for our economy, our businesses and our family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Obama went to Dallas today to thank volunteers who
are helping people learn about and get health insurance through affordable
care act. While health and human services Kathleen Sebelius went to
Capitol Hill to update the Senate finance committee members on the progress
being made in fixing the Web site.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: In the first few
weeks after healthcare.gov launched people had to wait an average of eight
second per pages to load. Today, it typically take less than a second. A
month ago, viewing and filtering took minutes, Today, it takes second.
Users are receiving far fewer error messages and timeouts. And we`re now
able to process nearly 17,000 registrants per hour with almost no errors.
More than two million people have already called into the call center with
average wait times of less than 30 second.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Toward end of the hearing, senior Republican on the committee,
Orrin Hatch of Utah slipped off the Republican talking points.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Look, we are not in it to just give you a
rough time. We are in it to try and hopefully get it right.

SEBELIUS: I would love to work with-up to get it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Jonathan Cohn, a senior editor for the "New
Republic."

Jonathan, it sounded like the secretary had some real progress to report
there today?

JONATHAN COHN, REPORTER, NEW REPUBLIC: There was a little progress to
report. And I think the treatment she got from Senate Republicans was a
lot more cordial and less hysterical than what she got last week from House
Republicans. You know, that quote that you played, there were a few other
versions of that. And it was one of first times we have actually heard
Republicans say OK, you know, maybe, we want to talk about working to fix
the problems in this law rather than just repealing it.

You know, I don`t know if it would say it was a good day for her. You
know, the Web site is still, got problems. And she took a lot of flag from
the Republicans. But certainly, compared to last week she had more
progress to report. And I thought she had a better time.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the president said in Texas about
Medicaid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: One of the things that sometimes gets me a little frustrated
although I understand it, I am in politics. Is folks who are complaining
about how the Web site is not working. And why isn`t Obama fixing this.
And all these people are uninsured, and yet they`re leaving a million
people right now without health insurance that they could immediately fix.
There is not a lot of logic to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, that`s the president`s frustration. Is that, states
like Texas and others not using the Medicaid piece which is working just
fine. And wasn`t the original design actually going to pick up most of the
uninsured.

COHN: You know, it`s -- the Medicaid piece is one of the great
underappreciated pieces of this law. And I was actually really glad to
hear the president draw highlight to it. I mean, you know we are talking.
We get all this publicity about the problems with the Web site. And, you
know people getting cancellation notices. And look those are real stories.

Meanwhile, we have, you know, several million people this year are going to
get insurance through this program, through the Medicaid expansion. And
then you have governors like Rick Perry in Texas. You have Republican
lawmakers and bunch of the red state, who are preventing their citizens
from being able to take advantage of this, even though the federal
government is picking up most of the cause. And it is really horrible.

So, you know, it is good to see this getting attention it deserves both as
a good news story because something good is happening. But also, a
reminder there are Republican governors, blocking their residents who need
health insurance from getting it.

O`DONNELL: Yes. That`s -- that`s the part that the president is really
going to have to I think continue to emphasize about where the blocks are
in this.

Jonathan Cohn, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

COHN: Thanks a lot.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES: Good evening from New
York, I`m Chris Hayes.

Chris Christie spent the day basking in the glow of his resounding victory
last night. But before we allow ourselves collectively to be swept up in
what he called "the spirit of Sandy," it is worth actually taking a look at
the man`s record.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big news, big election results across the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Big win for Chris Christie in New Jersey, a
boost for his presidential prospects.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Republicans are crowing about the big Chris
Christie landslide in New Jersey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Governor Christie, wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As he prepares to become the national frontrunner for
the 2016 presidential race.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was that a campaign speech for running for president
in 2016?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That wasn`t an acceptance speech. That was an
announcement speech.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Chris Christie is running on the theme "I can do
it".

HAYES: Chris Christie emerged from last night`s election as a frontrunner
for the 2016 Republican nomination.

END

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